The recent announcement by federal resources minister Keith Pitt that a new 'Australian Radioactive Waste Agency' will be established and located in Adelaide is the latest move by the federal government to impose a national nuclear waste dump in SA.
The Agency will be responsible for all functions of the proposed nuclear 'facility' including engagement with the Kimba community.
Dr. Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, said: "'Locating the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency in Adelaide is a cynical attempt to present the strongly contested nuclear waste dump as a done deal.
"The imposition of a nuclear waste dump is a clear breach of the SA Nuclear Waste Facility (Prohibitions) Act, legislation introduced by Liberal Premier John Olsen and strengthened by Premier Mike Rann. Yet current SA Premier Steven Marshall and energy and mining minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan support the proposed nuclear dump. That support should be reversed.
"van Holst Pellekaan falsely claims that Kimba has 'clearly' expressed its willingness to be the host community. In fact, a narrow majority supported the facility, and that narrow support was won with a multi-year, multi-million-dollar federal government PR campaign including the fictitious claim that 45 local jobs will be created.
"A majority of South Australians oppose the proposed nuclear dump and there has been no consultation let alone consent along transport corridors. Barngarla Traditional Owners were excluded from the Kimba ballot and their separate ballot found unanimous opposition.
"If the results of the Barngarla ballot are included with the ballot of local Kimba residents (and out-of-town ratepayers), the overall level of support falls to just 43.8% of eligible voters (452/824 for the Kimba ballot, and 0/209 for the Barngarla ballot). That is well short of a majority and a long way short of the government's 65% benchmark for 'broad community support'," Dr. Green said.
Prof. Graeme Samuel's EPBC Interim Report released yesterday noted that the federal government's framework environment legislation "reflects an overall culture of tokenism and symbolism, rather than one of genuine inclusion of Indigenous Australians".
An April 2020 report by Federal Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights noted that planned changes to the National Radioactive Waste Management Act, currently the subject of a Senate inquiry, do not sufficiently protect the Barngarla's rights and interests. The Committee found "there is a significant risk that the specification of this site will not fully protect the right to culture and self-determination". Importantly, the Human Rights Committee's report was unanimous and was endorsed by Liberal and National Party members.
Dr. Green said: "Shamefully, the Federal Government has acknowledged that its proposed changes to the National Radioactive Waste Management Act will deny Barngarla Traditional Owners, farmers and other interested parties a right to a judicial review of the proposed nuclear waste facility; indeed, it appears that the purpose of the legislation is to do just that.
"Prof. Samuel's EPBC Review and the Coalition and Labor members of the federal parliament's Human Rights Committee have found that the rights of Traditional Owners need to be strengthened, yet Premier Marshall and Minister van Holst Pellekaan are supporting the imposition of a nuclear waste dump unanimously opposed by Barngarla Traditional Owners. Their crude racism diminishes all South Australians and must be resisted," Dr. Green concluded.
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